President Obama makes a last pitch for Clinton, Murphy at UCF

By : Adam Manno
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ORLANDO – President Barack Obama pulled out all the stops at a Friday night rally for Hillary Clinton at the CFE Arena to remind Central Floridians to not just vote, but to vote to preserve his legacy.

People began to wait near the arena at 1 p.m., with the line wrapping around the Tower 4 dormitory all the way back to the football stadium by 5 p.m.

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Pulse massacre overshadows Fla. Senate race; Rubio criticized over gun control, LGBT rights

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS, Washington Blade
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Ricardo Negron-Almodovar, who is originally from the Puerto Rican city of Yauco, was at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12 when he heard gunshots.

He said in a Human Rights Campaign video that he initially thought the gunshots were part of a reggaeton song. Negron-Almodovar said the music stopped and clubgoers “got on the floor.”

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Pride Fund and politicians gather to rail against gun violence

By : Billy Manes
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Orlando – On October 12, the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence brought together some of its biggest supporters and endorsees for a downtown Orlando press conference. The subject at hand, of course, was the threat of firearms in the wrong hands, an issue that was only made more notable by the fact that the event was held four months to the day that 49 people were killed and 53 injured at Pulse Orlando on June 12.

Pride Fund, which is an LGBT political action committee focusing predominantly on state and federal candidates, as most gun laws are not written by municipalities, picked senatorial hopeful U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, congressional candidate and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings and Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to carry its message.

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Uprisings: The most deplorable

By : Billy Manes
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What a dizzying two weeks of nonsense we’ve witnessed on the presidential campaign trail. So dizzying, in fact, that one candidate – she of a thousand prefixes Hillary Clinton – became TMZ phone-cam fodder when she wobbled in the hands of staffers on her way to a vehicle after a Sept. 11 tribute in the overbearing sun and overbearing endorphins of public appearances. The world gasped, as it does, when it saw the slight shifts of her head on television as she was politely escorted away. Surely that meant that she was unfit to be president. Surely she was chiming a death knell for all the world to hear. Trump for everyone!

And though, by most messaging available to the media, Trump didn’t do his typical headline buzzard routine on something so private as Clinton’s personal health (optics!), he was quick to make note of her absence in recovery from the diagnosed bout of pneumonia from which she was suffering. That came mostly because of Clinton’s savage – but true – attack on Trump supporters as “deplorables.” Show me a Trump supporter who doesn’t have airs of privilege wrapped up in smug smile of “I’ve got mine” or some other prosperity gospel, and I’ll show you a bigot with a confederate flag living right down the road with a Trump sign in his yard.

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Uprisings: Diminishing returns

By : Billy Manes
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Though anyone who is taking the time to read this missive understands that this writer’s cynicism weighs more than two heavy bricks in two large pockets, the fact that the Aug. 30 primary only drew a 20 percent crowd in Orange County – and a similar number in Pinellas County – is a bit of a kick in the teeth. In some ways, I’ll take the blame. I was asked by numerous voters who to vote for, but I didn’t have the time to just throw numbers and precincts in their faces. I also didn’t, perhaps, do my due diligence in making that clear.

In a primary, in a gay paper, we don’t generally parse details. You’re with us, or you’re against us. We aren’t going to vote Republican, generally, so there’s that (sorry about your logs). The pols that have been with us were very clear in their messaging, and we likely profiled them in the past. The ones who are against us? Well, there aren’t enough ticks in a clock for us to deal with them at any reasonable length. So, on one hand, I’m issuing an apology. If any news source should be standing and screaming into the district-depths of individual primaries, it should be us, mine, the one that I edit. On the other hand, these are small towns and there are a lot of voices, many of which are familiar with my contact information, so I didn’t want to sink into the quicksand of political gamesmanship. In fact, because of social media, I did make some personal comments on personal pages, and I may have overstepped and come off as a dick.

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Rubio, Murphy win party Senate nominations; face-off in general election

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential aspirations and insistence that he was done with the Senate didn’t hurt him with GOP voters, now it’s time to see if the rest of Florida will be as forgiving as he seeks a second term.

Rubio easily won the Republican nomination to retain his seat and will be challenged by Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who defeated Congressman Alan Grayson in the Senate primary Aug. 30. It’s a race Democrats are targeting in an effort to regain a majority in the Senate, and their hope is that Rubio’s presidential ambitions have dulled the shine he had with Florida voters.

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Uprisings: Primary Colors

By : Billy Manes
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I’ve been wrestling with this for weeks, and these emotional bruises are something to contend with. Here at Watermark, we’ve discussed doing a primary voters’ guide downticket, upticket and with a ticket to get away. As it turns out, however, we – meaning me – cannot support any party that goes against the rights of the LGBT community, meaning we – or me – would look a bit foolish dancing along the left side of the plate and ignoring the potatoes on the right. If it sounds like a cop-out, in some ways it is. I’ve been engaged in the political community for too long not to know the names of children or the friends or family who have been there for me. It presents a conundrum within a locket within a cookie. I don’t want to influence your vote. I want to you to research it and find out for yourself.

But there are friends I certainly support, even apart from the fray of the recent mudslinging (you know who you are). I study these things. I pay attention. I care. So don’t get me wrong: I’m in it to win it for the people who will make life better.

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Uprisings: American Psycho

By : Billy Manes
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It might be a nicer world if we could simply direct our horror in the direction of a singular orange blob of money who barks at babies and has people punched in the gut and carried out of his rallies. Also, words like “nigger,” “faggot,” and their likes – presented here because they were reported in video form by the New York Times from a Trump rally, not because they make for comfortable parlance for anybody with a sane mind – have no business dragging their lexicon carcasses back into the mob rule of a Republican party run afoul.

It would certainly be a nicer election in 2016 if the standard bearers were actually on an even playing field. Sure, down-ticket on Aug. 30, we’ll have our a la carte picks at whom we think best represents our interests in our own local districts and municipal governments. And we should. But when people from the Republican Party are veritably leaping from its caustic platform (“corrective therapy,” anyone?), we have problems enough without having to worry about that ingrown hair that keeps coming back.

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